FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Nathanael Franks, a member of the top-ranked University of Arkansas men’s track and field team, has been named one of five finalists for the 9th Annual Coach Wooden Citizenship Cup presented by non-profit organization Athletes for a Better World. Franks is a redshirt sophomore multi-event competitor for the Razorbacks.
Named for the legendary UCLA men’s basketball coach, the award is presented annually to two distinguished athletes—one collegiate and one professional—for their character and leadership both on and off the field and for their contributions to sport and society. The Wooden Cup is open to all athletes in all sports and is given to those who have made the greatest difference in the lives of others.
Last season, Franks was a two-time scorer at the 2012 Southeastern Conference Indoor Championships in Lexington, Ky. He turned in a sixth-place finish in the heptathlon having completed the two-day, seven-event competition with a personal-best total of 5,421 points. Along the way, he established personal bests in the 60-meter hurdles, long jump and pole vault. Franks returned to the track at the conference meet to help the 4x400-meter relay to a third-place showing.
For his work in the classroom, Franks is a two-time SEC Academic Honor Roll performer and was named to the 2012 U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) All-Academic Team. As a Chancellor’s Scholar at the University of Arkansas, Franks earned his Bachelor of Science undergraduate degree in December 2012 with a 3.96 cumulative grade-point average. He was a double major in chemistry and physics with a minor in history.
Among several leadership roles on the University of Arkansas campus, Franks is a founding father of the Fayetteville chapter of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity and a core leader of the International Culture Team, an outreach effort to international students. Within the Fayetteville community, he is involved in the Recess organization which offers one-on-one mentoring of children with disabilities.
Along with Franks, the list of collegiate finalists for the 9th Annual Coach Wooden Citizenship Cup includes Brigetta Barrett (Arizona, track and field), Meghan Lyons (North Carolina, field hockey), Andrea Mingo (Purdue, basketball) and Eric Soza (UT-San Antonio, football). The award recipient will be announced April 23 at a ceremony in Atlanta.
Recipients of the Coach Wooden Citizenship Cup are chosen by a committee chaired by Vincent Dooley, former athletics director at Georgia, and other distinguished individuals involved in athletics across the country. Founded by Athletes for a Better World (ABW), a non-profit organization committed to changing the culture of American sports, the Wooden Cup is unique in that it is open to athletes in all levels of collegiate and professional sports.
Wooden Citizenship Cup Finalists
Brigetta Barrett, Arizona (track and field)
Nathanael Franks, Arkansas (track and field)
Meghan Lyons, North Carolina (field hockey)
Andrea Mingo, Purdue (basketball)
Eric Soza, UT-San Antonio (football)